ABC Blog

Five Composting Nutrients You Need to Know About

What links aquariums, manure and coffee? Lawn care in Austin, of course.

Anyone in Austin with a penchant for lawn care knows the benefits of composting. You likely know that it gives purpose to otherwise useless yard waste, and it’s one of the best means of nourishing plants into a large, healthy state. Many would-be composters mistakenly assume that they’ll have to go out of their way to create their own healthy compost, but a lot of the nutrients most essential to effective composting come from everyday materials.

1. Aquarium Gunk

Do you have an aquarium? If so, you have a ready source of moisture and nitrogen for your compost. When you clean the tank, toss the water, algae, waste and live plants from the aquarium directly into your compost heap.

2. Coffee Grounds

Used coffee grounds give your compost excellent doses of copper, magnesium, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, and each of these nutrients bolster … Read Full Post »

Riding Mowers Cost More Than You Think

Do-it-yourself lawn care isn’t cheap

Many homeowners in Texas mow their lawns with riding mowers. These machines offer a fast and relatively easy way to cut the grass. However, it’s important to realize how expensive it has become to buy, maintain and operate yard equipment. The costs can really add up.

Initial Purchase

Depending on its size and features, the price of a mower typically ranges from $900 to $2,000. Fast commercial-grade models cost even more. Keep in mind that Texas adds a 6.25% sales tax to the purchase price. This raises the total expense by $55 to $130.

If you don’t have enough cash for a riding mower, be prepared to pay considerably more. For example, perhaps you decide to finance a $1,600 model at 4.25% interest. This would increase the total cost by almost $180. Loan processing and documentation fees may also apply.

Mowing Supplies

After you buy a riding mower, it’s time to … Read Full Post »

Can Your Lawn Reveal Your Deepest Secrets?

You probably won’t find lawn conditions mentioned in many pop psychology books, but if you look carefully, there may be a correlation between a person’s lawn and their personalities and priorities. At first glance, it might not seem important, but if you’re looking for a mate or trying to impress your neighbors, your personal environment and what it reveals about you could be a make-or-break factor. Here are a few personality types that could potentially be linked to lawn condition (and of course, we take these results with a grain of salt!).

The Control Freak

The Control Freak’s lawn is never more than a fraction of an inch too long or short. It’s the perfect shade of green, and any blemishes are quickly isolated and treated intensively until they’re back in formation. The Control Freak regularly inspects every plant in the yard and references the Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab when necessary.

The … Read Full Post »

Avoid Large Irrigation Bills This Summer with These 5 Easy Tips

Stop pouring water and money down the drain

Thanks to the arid Texas weather, it’s often necessary to install an irrigation system that keeps your landscape looking good. However, this system may cost a fortune to operate. Here are five easy tips to help you keep irrigation expenses down this summer.

1. Run the Sprinkler in the Morning

Early in the day, the temperature is cool and wind is usually at a minimum, which means that less water will be lost from evaporation. Watering your plants at night can cause diseases to form on leaves and roots. Most often this is a problem in a humid climate like Texas.

2. Check for Leaks

If water appears to be running onto your sidewalks after your sprinkler has been turned off, there may be a leaky valve in your system. This can cause a great increase in irrigation bills because water is constantly running. Many times this … Read Full Post »

Growing a Greener Lawn in 5 Steps

The greening of San Antonio lawns

Choosing the right grass for lawns in south-central Texas can reduce maintenance headaches. The recommended types are St. Augustine, Zoysia, Bermuda and Buffalo. There aren’t any distinct advantages of one over the other, although buffalo grass is native to this area. All four types require irrigation, regular mowing, seasonal fertilization and pest control management.

The Grass Is Thirsty

If there’s one thing that keeps grass green, it’s an adequate amount of watering at the right times. This means you can’t count on San Antonio’s unpredictable showers to keep your lawn irrigated. Water your lawn as needed, which means observing the blades for signs of stress. St. Augustine and Zoysia grasses demand heavy irrigation. Buffalo grass requires only half an inch of water to thrive.

In general, water to a depth of six inches every four to five days. Determine the length of time that sprinklers should be left … Read Full Post »

Such Great Heights: How Tall Should Grass Really Be?

Having a great lawn isn’t as simple as watering and cutting your grass at regular intervals. It requires careful planning and constant vigilance. Among other things, it’s crucial to know exactly how tall to keep your lawn’s grass. This isn’t a cut-and-dry consideration: It’s dependent on a number of factors, including local ordinances and style preferences. Learn more about how to keep your grass at just the right height.

Variety Is Key

Aside from local ordinances and homeowner covenants, grass variety is the single most important determinant of lawn height. Since the San Antonio area lies at the boundary zone between several distinct climate types, your lawn could be dominated by one of several types of grass. While the region’s most common grass type is probably St. Augustine, some lawns use Bermuda grass or native buffalo grass.

St. Augustine Grass Considerations

Although St. Augustine grass is native to the Gulf Coast region and tropical … Read Full Post »

Winter Lawn Care Don’ts

As the warm weather begins to fade, your lawn’s need for seasonal maintenance doesn’t. Not quite. Although winter is a kind of dormancy for lawns, neglecting winter care means your lawn is much less likely to flourish in the spring. With that in mind, here are some winter lawn care don’ts:

Don’t Let Debris Accumulate

Winter yard work can be unpleasant, but debris can ruin your lawn. Leaves, toys, and other items can damage your lawn by smothering the grass. Additionally, some debris will provide cover for troubling pests, including burrowing insects and rodents. Once the pests find a home in your lawn, serious damage to your property can occur.

Don’t Damage Your Turf

During the active growing season, a healthy lawn is extremely resilient, but dormant grass is easily damaged. According to Louisiana State University’s College of Agriculture, processes like filling and aeration can disrupt your lawn during the winter.

Don’t Forget to Mow

Mowing … Read Full Post »

Your Yard Is Yours—Reclaim It!

If you’ve long been fighting the epic battle to remove weeds from your lawn, you need not pull every last hair out of your head. In fact, you don’t even need to use harsh chemicals. By committing to a few organic lawn care techniques that will keep your yard in great shape, you’ll be able to enjoy green grass throughout the entire year. Those dastardly weeds will go the way of the dodo, and you’ll soon feel confident enough to hold picnics, barbecues and family gatherings on your unblemished lawn.

Discover the Joys of Mulch

Mulch is an excellent way to keep your lawn healthy. If you have a specific corner of the yard that’s dedicated to small bushes, you can sprinkle mulch around the roots of the plants to keep the soil moist. This will block light from reaching the weeds. In fact, weeds that have not yet sprouted will be … Read Full Post »

Checklist for Cleaning Up Your Lawn Act

You’ve cleaned up the last of the dead leaves, finished mowing the lawn, and trimmed dead flowers from your landscaping beds. Your home’s lawn maintenance is nearly done, but you still have a few last chores to complete.

Clean Your Gutters

Even though you cleaned up your yard, there are likely thousands of leaves trapped in your gutters, which will overflow during heavy rainfall. Besides making the ground around your home a muddy mess, sitting water can actually cause foundation damage, so you want to make sure that your gutters are completely clean before the temperature drops below freezing.

Trim Dead Branches

Dead branches can snap off and cause damage if it snows, so trim off any dead branches that you can easily reach with a ladder. Hire a tree trimming company if you can’t reach high branches. Large branches make great firewood logs, and you can use smaller branches as kindling.

Prepare Engines

Once all … Read Full Post »

Exposing Mowing Myths

Do you spend a lot of time primping and preening your San Antonio lawn, only to notice that it still doesn’t look as nice as you’d like? Have you noticed that your neighbor rarely spends any time at all on lawn maintenance and yet his grass looks terrific? If so, this article may help. There are many myths surrounding mowing and proper lawn care, and described below are the top five myths of all time.

1. You should mow your grass extra short at the end of fall.

Many people are under the belief that they should mow their grass extra short right before winter begins. However, this is simply not so. If you have cool-season grass, a two-inch cut is fine. On the other hand, two and a half inches is recommended for tall fescue.

2. Never leave grass clippings on your lawn.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, in … Read Full Post »